A California Superior Court judge has ruled that EA must defend itself in a $400 million contract-interference suit brought by Activision over Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella.
Activision alleges that the Battlefield publisher illegally attempted to lure away the Call of Duty creators, and Judge Elihu Berle said sufficient evidence had been provided that a jury should decide whether EA broke the law by talking to West and Zampella while they were still under contract.
Activision lawyer Steven Marenberg said (via Bloomberg): "We're pleased with the ruling and look forward to proving our case at trial."
While EA was added to Activision's complaint late last year, its dispute with West and Zampella stretches back to March 2010, when the former Infinity Ward bosses sued their ex-employee for alleged unfair dismissal. The pair claimed their contracts were terminated weeks before substantial Modern Warfare 2 royalty payments were due to be made.
Activision counter-sued the developers, arguing that they had been secretly negotiating a deal with EA. The pair subsequently formed new studio Respawn Entertainment and agreed a publishing deal with EA.
38 current and former Infinity Ward employees also sued Activision last year over alleged unpaid bonuses and royalties for Modern Warfare 2, and their complaint has been consolidated with West and Zampella's case against Activision.